Tuesday, May 03, 2005

No Jeeps on the Piste

Well I took a lot of notes over the weekend as I jetted about here and there. Following is a compilation of those where I can still read my turbulence-jostled handwriting.

After reading the article "On Mastering Fencing" by Nick Jamilla I am compelled to think on the instructor/student relationship which seems paramount to learning fencing. Perhaps one of the reasons it seems to warrant a good deal of thought is the marked difference in the instruction of fencing and the coaching of everything else I have been involved in. There are no whistles, no strained screams from the sidelines, no being chased by a Jeep (yes, I did have a track coach who would ride on our heels in her jeep and beep incessantly).

Learning fencing is not just about running faster or making more baskets: Jamilla calls it a transformation of the student under the guidance of a master. Further, he says it is a relationship of trust; and while I have desired in the past to please certain coaches, the element of trust was not so pronounced, or even necessary. Also there is the element of docility on the part of the student. Now there's something that's easy for me - too much so some might say. But faced with someone with a dedication and love for the sport, I can't help but want to absorb everything and will eagerly do so to the point of bursting.

And now my thoughts escape me... Need to go back to writing during the day

~~~~random change of topic~~~~~

Alright the other things that I jotted down notes on seem suddenly incongruous. I'll save them for another day.

Warning: Non-fencing related anecdote ahead. Feel free to stop reading. I'd just like to get it down on "paper".

Seated in seat 1C on a recent flight out of Philadelphia, I was privy to a whole new world I had not yet met. The soap opera which is airline personnel. I listened surreptitiously as our flight attendant and the gate attendant had a heated conversation about Philly's new turnaround time for aircraft which were arriving and then departing again. Our stewardess was obviously quite put out by the whole thing. Once the gate attendant left she resumed her pre-flight duties with ferocity: viciously wiping down counters and beginning a pot of coffee all the while shaking her head and sighing in frustration. But then a strange thing happened - as the plane began to taxi, she calmly put her things away and even started to hum. Once we took off she was a changed beast, calmly sitting in her little jump seat, reading a magazine and rocking her legs in time to her own humming.

As I thought about this creature - more at home in the air than on the ground - I couldn't help but wonder where I will at last feel at home. When at the very same time my roots begin to happily uncurl in the soil of one place, the time swiftly approaches while I must move and once again with trepidation test new ground and hope that it is fertile.

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